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Delhi airport incident: 1 dead; govt orders probe, structural strength inspection of all airports

Civil Aviation Minister K Rammohan Naidu visited the airport, said the situation is under control and Terminal 1 (T1) has been closed down and arrangements are being made to shift operations of flights to T2 and T3.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 08:02 IST

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New Delhi: The Delhi airport, the country's busiest airport, on Friday early morning witnessed the collapse of a roof at Terminal 1 amid heavy rains that killed one person, prompting the government to order a detailed probe and an inspection of the structural strength of all airports.

The shutdown of Terminal 1 (T1), which handles domestic services of IndiGo and SpiceJet at the Delhi airport, also resulted in more than 100 flight cancellations, leading to the disruption of travel plans of passengers and the authorities decided to shift flights from the terminal to T2 and T3.

In the wake of the flight cancellations, the civil aviation ministry asked airlines to ensure that there is no abnormal surge in airfares for Delhi flights.

Structural engineers from IIT Delhi have been asked to immediately assess the partial collapse of a canopy at the old departure forecourt of T1 at the Delhi airport that killed one person and injured at least six people.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), operated by a GMR Group-led consortium DIAL has three terminals -- T1, T2 and T3 -- and handles around 1,400 flight movements daily.

At a review meeting convened by Civil Aviation Minister K Rammohan Naidu, it was also decided that a 24x7 war room will be set up for efficient management of passengers at T2 and T3.

"The war room will ensure the full refund of cancelled flights or provide alternative travel route tickets," the ministry said in a statement.

Further, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been directed to issue a circular to all minor and major airports to conduct a thorough inspection of structural strength.

These inspections must be completed within the next 2-5 days and the reports are to be submitted to the ministry.

"Based on the findings, the need for increased safety measures and the development of long-term policies to prevent the recurrence of such unfortunate incidents will be formulated at priority," the statement said.

The roof collapse incident will be probed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as well as by a technical committee set up by DIAL (Delhi International Airport Ltd).

A compensation of Rs 20 lakh will be given to the family of the deceased and Rs 3 lakh each for the injured people.

"While the cause for the collapse is being assessed, the primary cause seems to be the continued heavy rainfall over the past few hours. As per the Indian Meteorological Department, Delhi Safdarjung recorded a massive 228.1 mm of rain in the last 24 hours (mainly in the early morning hours of today). This is the highest 24-hour rain in Delhi in June after 1936, the average rainfall in the area in the last 30 years is 75.2 mm," DIAL said in a statement.

In this incident, DIAL said, 4 vehicles were damaged, 8 individuals received minor injuries and that there was one fatality.

As a precautionary measure, all flight operations from T1 have been suspended till further notice. The expanded T1, the capacity of which has increased to handle 40 million passengers from 17 million, is yet to be fully operational.

The roof that collapsed at T1 was constructed during 2008-09. The work was contracted out by GMR to private contractors, government sources said.

Amid reports that L&T had constructed the structure at T1 that collapsed on Friday, the firm said the structure in question was built by another company in 2009.

"We want to clarify that L&T did not construct the collapsed structure, nor are we responsible for its maintenance. The structure in question was built by another company in 2009.

"At the request of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), L&T undertook an expansion project for T1 in 2019. The collapse occurred approximately 110 meters from the extended portion of T1, which was constructed by L&T and commissioned in March 2024. We confirm that the collapse has had no impact on this extended portion."

In a post on X, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Murlidhar Mohol said the DGCA has been instructed to carry out a high-level enquiry into this unfortunate incident.

The Delhi Police has filed an FIR under sections related to death by negligence in connection with the incident of roof collapse.

An "advisory has been released to all airlines to ensure that this situation does not lead to a steep increase in airfare. Airlines to maintain fare stability to avoid passenger inconvenience," the ministry said in the statement.

Naidu held the review meeting with senior officials of the ministry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

An IndiGo spokesperson said flight operations are impacted due to structural damage to T1 due to adverse weather conditions.

"This has led to flight cancellations at Delhi as passengers are not able to enter the terminal. Passengers already inside the terminal will be able to board their planned flights, but those with flights later in the day will be offered alternatives," the airline said in a statement.

The airline also said the unplanned situation has led to operations across the network being impacted.

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Published 28 June 2024, 08:02 IST

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